There are 2 definitions of prune in English:


Syllabification: prune
Pronunciation: /pro͞on


1A plum preserved by drying, having a black, wrinkled appearance.
More example sentences
  • However, just as raisins seem different from grapes, so do prunes appear to be distinct from plums.
  • Sneak some raisins or puréed prunes or zucchini into whole-wheat pancakes.
  • European plums have a thick, firm flesh that make excellent prunes, preserves, or desert fruit.
1.1 informal An unpleasant or disagreeable person: he was a good leader, but a miserable old prune
More example sentences
  • Even pathetic old prunes have their moment in the glare of the gossip mags
  • McGregor has some good company: that miserable old prune Hugh Morgan (another complete AO) is also a distinguished fellow.
  • I had to put up with all these melodramatic old prunes (not just older people, but people of my own age as well) saying that my life was over, and oh, i would never be able to do my degree and get a good job, and oh, it is such a shame!


Middle English: from Old French, via Latin from Greek prou(m)non 'plum'.

Definition of prune in:

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Word of the day apposite
Pronunciation: ˈapəzit
apt in the circumstances or relation to something

There are 2 definitions of prune in English:


Syllabification: prune
Pronunciation: /


[with object]
1Trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.
More example sentences
  • Late February is an optimum time to prune trees and shrubs in your landscape.
  • When cleaning out the dead debris from flowerbeds, also prune any shrubs and push plants back into the soil that have heaved with the frosts.
  • I pruned the rose bushes and gave them a good soaking - it has been a dry winter.
cut back, trim, thin, pinch back, clip, shear, top, dock
1.1Cut away (a branch or stem): prune back the branches
More example sentences
  • You may also need to prune back live branches that are getting out of control.
  • More compact plants result when long branches are pruned back to their junction at a lateral branch during early spring.
  • But if you prune back hard or after the tree leafs out in spring, it may be slower to come into bloom that year.
cut off, lop (off), chop off, clip, snip (off), nip off, dock
1.2Reduce the extent of (something) by removing superfluous or unwanted parts: reduction achieved by working harder or pruning costs
More example sentences
  • So unless top-line targets are met, the cost base is pruned to compensate.
  • Acting quickly, Bern closed underperforming stores, pruned the work force, expanded product lines and revised the merchandising strategy.
  • The coalition will be working very hard over the next few months to prune expenditure to bring down this tax rise. The process has already started.
reduce, cut (back/down), pare (down), slim down, make reductions in, make cutbacks in, trim, decrease, diminish, downsize, ax, shrink
informal slash
1.3Remove (superfluous or unwanted parts) from something: Elliot deliberately pruned away details
More example sentences
  • And several bright ideas scattered here and there that never quite worked have been pruned away.
  • Costs were cut, younger managers encouraged and deadwood pruned away with early retirement.


late 15th century (in the sense 'abbreviate'): from Old French pro(o)ignier, possibly based on Latin rotundus 'round'.



More example sentences
  • On shrubs with many crowded shoots, use loppers or hand pruners to cut about a third of the oldest shoots back to the ground at the right time of year for pruning a particular shrub.
  • If you just want to thin the growth, you can remove branches using your pruners or loppers by cutting the branch back to a fork.
  • For branches too large to be cut with a hand pruner or lopping shears, pruning saws must be used.

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